Thursday, August 18, 2011



Michelle Ray has really succeeded in bringing the story of Hamlet into a modern day YA novel. All the players are here: Hamlet, Ophelia, Horatio. High school senior Ophelia is used to being in the public eye. A lifelong friend to the royal family of Denmark who is recently "On" with Hamlet her on/off boyfriend. two young lovers who struggle to find themselves  and strengthen their love in a world we they are constantly being watched and commented on.
the story is told in three unique formats: A questioning of Ophelia by the Denmark  Department of Investigations, A high profile TV interview Ophelia conducts with Zara and a first person narrative by Ophelia that often has the feel of an autobiography. This is a brilliant decision on Ray's part. It gives the story a unique freshness despite the fact that the majority of us know how everything ends.
I enjoyed this version of Ophelia although sometimes her choices were frustrating. Like Shakespeare's Ophelia this version is trapped by family and political strings. Her father is a member of The Royal cabinet and so on one hand she has access to a wonderful apartment, exotic trips with the Royals  and of course access to Hamlet.
However the family consumes her life and her time. She has an unhealthy fixation on Hamlet that leaves her little time for friends and even choosing a profession post High School. These aspects of Ophelia really translated well to the YA format since a lot of young women face these challenges in relationships.
The actions of Gertrude and Claudius however shake the entire foundation of Hamlet and Ophelia's world. The former king is dead. Claudius and Gertrude engage in a circumspect quickie marriage and Hamlet begins to unravel,
Events escalate until a dramatic finale at a Lacrosse game of all things! I really felt myself drawn into the action  of the story even though I knew the outcome. Ophelia's ultimate fate was very interesting . A great take on a classic that I must confess put me in the mood to watch Kenneth Branagh's version of the movie :)
Stop by tomorrow for a chance to win an Arc of this great read .


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